Masklighting

Whether government responded to Covid with draconian lockdowns (New York, the UK, Germany, Norway) or deferred to individual responsibility (most of the rural west), or skittered back and forth between both extremes (Italy, Sweden), Covid infection rates have seemed to exhibit the behavior of…

…well, respiratory viruses, waxing and waning along with weather conditions more than any government action, or lack of it.

But throughout, the pro-authoritarian (“Mascist”) wing of America’s response has had one consistent villain; Americans. “If they only followed the rules and wore their masks”, they whinge (when not whinging about the feds’ response), “we’d have already conquered this” – completely ignoring the fact that many of the places that “conquered” the virus with aggressive measures are still, or have started, suffering horribly of late).

Of course, it’s pure gaslighting. Even early in the summer, before the “Mask Wars” became part of the ongoing cultural bar brawl, Americans were wearing masks voluntarily at among the highest rates in the Western world.

And, studies show, they always have, and still are:

The data, released in [the CDC’s] weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, is roughly in line with other polls showing that most Americans report wearing masks, at least when they are inside stores.

For example, Pew Research reported in August that 85 percent of 13,200 adults they surveyed said they wore masks in stores, up from 65 percent in June.

In a National Geographic poll released early this month, 92 percent of 2,200 Americans surveyed said they always or sometimes wore a mask when leaving the house.

Now, this thread isn’t about whether masks are or aren’t effective – that discussion has happened more than a few times in the comment section.

It’s about government – as it becomes ever more authoritarian – using “masks” as a vehicle to blame the average schnook for its own failings in dealing with the pandemic.

Which is only going to get worse over the winter.

Maybe It Was Considered A Peaceful Demonstration?

A friend of the blog emails:

Wow! Think the media will report Covid19 at our military academies in the coming weeks. No distancing, many with masks not covering their faces. 
Nothing to see here, right?

Another friend of the blog pointed out that the cadets and midshipmen were all parts of training cohorts that were pretty much together all the time anyway. Which to me introduced the question – if we take the information civilians in GenPop are given, doesn’t that still mean that the service academies are “superspreaders?”

That being said, I wasn’t too concerned, given that everyone involved is young, healthy, selected in part for a lack of pre-existing conditions, largely sequestered away from those that aren’t, and part of a demographic cohort with roughly a 100% survival rate.

And as neither was the NDSU Bison, it didn’t rise to the level of a priority for me anyway.

Christmas Dinner Plans

Never heard of this guy and his Baltimore restaurant – but I like the cut of his jib.

Crab cakes are sounding mighty good for Christmas dinner at the moment.

As If By Rote

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Just finished my annual physical, which I must take to get my prescription renewed for diabetes medicine. The doctor mentioned I am due for a colonoscopy this year but I said I was thinking about putting it off so I didn’t catch the Covid since medical facilities are one of the most contagious places. He said oh no, it’s bars and restaurants, that’s where all the cases are coming from.

Later, he asked what I was doing for Thanksgiving, I told him my mother had canceled Thanksgiving because Covid, they live near Rochester and there’s a huge staff shortage at the Mayo Clinic. Yes, he agreed, 900 staff people are out because of Covid and everyone should stay home for Thanksgiving.

So those Mayo Clinic doctors are a bunch of drunks? They’ve been hanging out in the bars where everybody catches it?

Ridiculous.  If health care professionals aren’t catching the virus at work, it’d be the first epidemic in history where that’s true.  Here’s the chart from the Minnesota Department of Health website on November 23, 2020.

TravelCongregate LivingCorrectionsHomeless/ShelterHealth CareCommunity: outbreakCommunity: knownCommunity: no knownUnknown050,000100,000150,00

Bars and restaurants aren’t even listed separately, they’re lumped in with all other “community outbreak” which includes weddings, funerals, political rallies, riots, and workplaces that are not residences such as meat packing plants.  Bars and restaurants are nowhere near as contagious as health care facilities and that makes perfect sense – hospitals are full of sick people, of course the virus spreads there.

I’m disappointed in my doctor.  He’s just reciting the party line, no independent thought, no analysis of contradictory statements made moments apart, but I should trust him because he’s a medical professional: he has a white lab coat and everything. 

I’ve met religious fanatics before, and also Liberals, so there’s no point in arguing about it. Just nod my head and make plans to buy medicine from Mexico online. No prescription required. 

Joe Doakes

I’ll cut clinic staff a little slack – between the pandemic and the state’s bizarre gyrations in “managing” the healthcare system, it might be more fun to work in one of those meat packing plants these days.

But I said a little slack. Let’s not get carried away. The doctor that skip “critical thought” on this will do the same when it comes to that “do you have guns in the house” question, when doctors start caring about that again.

Blinding Science

The worst part of this pandemic may be how “science” has been turned from a system for analyzing what we don’t know, into a weapon to logroll people into line behind a conclusion.

It’s not just Karens karen-ing, or @NPRNews claiming there’s a “Team Science”, a consistant, constant body of knowledge and its high priests standing united against the uninformed peasants attacking the metaphorical observatory with pitchforks and torches. That’s bad – but it’s been a problem for a while, now.

Scientists are now adopting social media tactics, and “influencing” “followers” to “cancel” scientists they disagree with.

People are turning science into Scientism – a pseudo-religious, faith-based mass of dogmas combining the worst aspects of revival religion and social media herd mentality.

Taking Business Elsewhere

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz has ordered restaurants closed for dine-in service. So on Saturday morning, I buzzed over the new Highway 36 bridge to eat breakfast at a cafe near Somerset.

Dine-in service. Normal table separation. Packed with customers. Cheerful wait staff running non-stop. Generous portions. Reasonable prices. No masks required.

If Minnesota doesn’t want my business, I’ll take it elsewhere. Because that’s The American Way, right? Maybe that will get the Governor’s attention.

Joe Doakes

I don’t know. His paycheck isn’t going anywhere.

Orders!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz [last Tuesday] announced a new Executive Order intended to save Minnesotan lives from the deadliest virus ever known, Covid-19.

“More than 100 people died of Covid-19 the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s sad, but it’s their own fault.  They failed to follow my instructions to cancel Thanksgiving and they paid the price for it.  I’m only sorry the scofflaws took so many of their aged neighbors with them.  This blatant disregard of my Executive Orders cannot continue.   Effective immediately, all Christmas parties are banned during the month of December.  And since we now know I cannot depend on people to voluntarily obey the arbitrary rules, I’m announcing a new compliance program.  You’ve heard of Toys for Tots?  Well, this is Cash for Christians.  Report your neighbor’s holiday gathering and receive a check from the state.  The more violators, the bigger the reward.”

In response to Republican claims that such an order would somehow violate the “Constitution,” a spokesman for Attorney General Ellison stated, “Since the Governor’s order is authorized by statute and has not been overturned by the Legislature, it is presumptively valid. There is ample legal precedent to take action against people who threaten public peace under pretext of religion, particularly Executive Order 44 issued by the Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri in 1838. The notion that the Governor lacks the authority to suspend people’s so-called “Constitutional rights” during the time of state-wide emergency is absurd on its face.”

Local ministers called a press conference to protest the order but were summarily arrested and have not been heard from since.  An aide to the Governor confirmed he has reserved the Xcel Center for several events in coming weeks and also has instructed the Minnesota Zoo to stop feeding the big cats, but rumors of plans to feed Christians to the lions on pay-per-view were denied.

In Saint Paul, Joe Doakes, reporting.

Given that the state owns a freezer morgue that is empty (since Ken Martin let John Thompson out after the election), I suppose it brings new meaning to “putting suspects on ice”….

Yet Another Order

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Saint Paul, Minnesota
November 22, 2020
For Immediate Release

Dictator-for-Life Walz today announced a new Executive Order intended to save Minnesota lives from the deadliest virus ever known, Covid-19.

“Some have questioned the wisdom of my Executive Orders, citing downstream consequences as reasons why the Orders should not have been issued and should not be obeyed. These questions undermine public confidence in the government and put everyone at risk of dying in agony. Therefore, effective immediately, no person shall question any of my Orders at any time, for any reason, on pain of imprisonment or deportation.”

In response to Republican claims that the order constituted a prior restraint on free speech which somehow violated the “Constitution,” a spokesbeing for Attorney General Ellison said, “Since the Governor’s order is authorized by statute and has not been overturned by the Legislature, it is presumptively valid. There is ample legal precedent for this measure provided in the Alien Friends and Sedition Acts of 1798. The notion that the Governor lacks the authority to suspend people’s so-called “Constitutional rights” during the time of state-wide emergency is absurd on its face.”

Local ACLU officials called a press conference to support the order, pointing out that Republican Hate Speech is not Protected Speech.

From Saint Paul, Joe Doakes, reporting

The ACLU bit is so close to “not satire at all” that it’s a little scary.

And The List Goes On

Nancy Pelosi’s haircut and blowout was more important than the public health measures whose jamdown she supported – after which the speaker and masses of her droogs took it upon themselves to try to defame the stylist for apparently fooling the hapless speaker of the house and Powerful Woman into acting like Marie Antoinette.

Chicago mayor Lori “Walker” Lightfoot also needed a haircut denied to mere proles – and figured hobnobbing with masses of people celebrating a Biden win would be immune, because “relief” conveys immunity, apparently.

Gavin Newsom’s swanky and flagrantly non-compliant dinner, with his public health authorities, was apparently not only an exception to the rule but so awesome that the Mayor of San Francisco did the same thing, the next night, at the same $400-a-seat San Fran restaurant.

The Mayor of Denver got on a plane not 30 minutes after telling his subjects…er, constituents not to even think about traveling. As did the Mayor of San Jose.

Not to be outdone, an LA County supervisor went to a big dinner, right after voting to shut down outdoor dining.

I’d ask “what do they all have in common?”, but after almost 19 years on this blog, we all know, don’t we?

Onerous Usurpations

When I posted the social media companion pieces to yesterday’s post on the grotesque parody of “science” that played out over the shopping weekend, I had a lot of people respond “It’s time for restaurants to throw their doors open and dare Keith Ellison do to something about it”.

Here in the Metro, of course, Ellison wouldn’t have to do squat. Ramsey, Hennepin and Dakota county authorities would yank operation licenses so fast it’d look like a confetti parade. In Greater Minnesota? Probably much less so.

But what if they did?

In Michigan – one of a small selection of states with worse governors than Minnesota – a restaurant chain is adjusting its gloves:

Y’know, I’ve been doing a little more takeout lately – much of it at a inner-city restaurant run by immigrants who spent their time during the riots up on the roof, visibly armed. I’ve been leaving ’em 30% tips, too.

But I suspect if we organized a mob of shoppers to support restaurants defying the shutdown, that might have some clout.

Hmmmm.

More Orders

Joe Doakes from Como Park emailed, again, about a week or so ago:

Saint Paul, Minnesota
November 21, 2020
For Immediate Release

Dictator-for-Life Walz, Peace Be Upon Him, today announced a new Executive Order intended to save Minnesotan lives from the deadliest virus ever known, Covid-19.

“Shocking new evidence has been discovered which completely changes our strategy for combating this deadly virus,” said Governor Walz. “We have learned that the Jewish ceremony of slaughtering and eating Christian babies takes place without masks, and without social distancing or hand sanitizing measures in place. These super-spreader events put everyone at risk and cannot be allowed to continue. Effective immediately, all Jews must present themselves to local authorities for removal to Permanent and Isolated Relocation Authority camps to be confined for the remainder of the emergency.”

In response to Republican claims that such an order lacked a factual basis and would somehow violate the “Constitution,” a spokesman for Attorney General Hakim X. stated, “The factual basis is clear: Jewish dietary practices are well-documented in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Since the Governor’s order is authorized by statute and has not been overturned by the Legislature, it is presumptively valid. There is ample legal precedent for this measure provided in the Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. United States. The notion that the Governor lacks the authority to suspend people’s so-called “Constitutional rights” during the time of state-wide emergency is absurd on its face.”

Local rabbis called a press conference to protest the order but were summarily arrested and have not been heard from since. It is believed they are the first Jews to be sent to the Relocation Camps, although that rumor cannot be confirmed.

In Saint Paul, Joe Doakes, reporting.

At some point, if things don’t start to improve, satire becomes journalism.

Blue Fragility, Part MMXMLCIII: Pious Fury!

When it comes to state-level Covid restrictions – bans, shutdowns, snitch lines and the rest – the big media and the pundit class (pardon, more and more, the redundancy) act a lot like strict but blinkered Fundamentalists confronting two-for-ones at happy hour; the impenitent deserve any horrors that befall them, in this life or the next.

All through the summer, Big Media was fairly drooling at the notion that, while Covid was ravaging New York and Boston and Minneapolis, “it’s gonna hit the red states MUCH harder”, with a perceptible thrill in their voice.

Which is all I have to explain the way Big Media has covered the surge in Covid in the Dakotas. I’ve called the phenomenon “#BlueFragility” – the notion that no matter what goes wrong in a Blue city or state – crime, corruption, costs, Covid, bureaucratic legerdemain – it’s going to be worse in the Red areas, and it’s probably their fault besides!

The level of joy that came out a few weeks ago when North Dakota’s case load surged (after a cold, wet October – the same weather that’s gonna cause a surge everywhere else, before too long) had a pronounced “Scarlet Letter” vibe to it.

And it’s not just pseudomoral schadenfreud. It’s bastardizing both science and journalism (to the extent that benighted craft can still be bastardized). Remember the Sturgis rally? When snarky bobbleheads with tin “reporter” badges uncritically regurgitated garbage “science” tying every single case in the upper midwest to the Sturgis rally? That made the headlines. The clarification – it was more like 80 cases in Minnesota – got Section C page 16.

Oh yeah – being big media, pretty much everything they’ve written about the situation is wrong. To pick just one bit of misreporting – the story from a few weeks back that Gov. Burgum was asking infected but asymptomatic staff to keep working:.

“Anger in North Dakota After Governor Asks Covid-Positive Health Workers To Keep Working.” That does sound pretty dire – the state is so swamped that the sick are treating the sick.

Except this is a phenomenon in agricultural states generally because they rely on small rural Critical Access Hospitals, often with few beds and limited or nonexistent intensive care capabilities. “COVID-19 patients and other critically ill patients who need to be cared for in an intensive care unit are typically transferred to larger regional hospitals, which can be hundreds of miles from the small critical hospitals,” notes USA Today when it’s not berating the Dakotas. This adds extra pressure to city hospitals and can potentially increase case severity and death. In fact, the CDC spells out guidance for areas in such situations that allows such working situations precisely because unlike what we normally think of as a disease case, that is, an exhibition of a certain cluster of symptoms, many Covid-19 “cases” are asymptomatic and non-spreading. It’s just one of the many idiosyncrasies of how this disease is treated compared to others. 

While I chalk this up to a frenzy of secular-revivalist fervor, the author, Michael Fumento, adds another wrinkle to the diagnosis:

Say you’re a writer in New York or Los Angeles living in something approaching a coronavirus police state and fearing for your job and pining for a pint and you learn North Dakota ranked second in least economic distress from the pandemic while South Dakota also did quite well. Further, a U.S. Census Bureau poll found that the two states least suffering from anxiety and depression right now are, yup, the Dakotas. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s freedom!

I do urge you to read the whole thing.

By the way – unlike pretty much any mainstream media figure, I’ve spent time in the Dakotas since the pandemic started. A *lot* of time. Four times since March. While there was no state mask mandate, people *on their own* were wearing them, no less than in the Twin Cities.

And in a better contrast still? Listening to Governor Burgum addressing the state is a wonderful contrast to Governor Klink; he treats his audience like someone he has to respect as adults, puts the actual science out there, and doesn’t play stupid stunts like hiding his math, a welcome comparison to the gym teacher with his knobs and levers and vanishing models.

Moving as I did from NoDak to the big city 35 years ago, I’ve had an adult lifetime of dealing with “blue” stereotypes of the rural west. I’d say “I’m gonna enjoy watching them choke on them”, but it’s probably too soon.

“We’re All In This Together”

“Science”, Minnesota Style

Governor Klink reminds us “we are all in it together“.

I thought about that as I was driving through Eagan after the show on Saturday. I drove past a Eagan Outlet mall – a clump of national big box outlet stores.

He was the parking lot:

Seems an off a lot of people are, indeed, “in it together”, doesn’t it?

Then, I turned around and took a look at Jensen’s supper club – a locally run, one of a kind small family run business that is an Eagan institution, as well as being perennially besieged by the ever expanding vagaries of Minnesota’s regulatory state and tax regime.

Here it was:

A sign on the door hopefully suggests “curbside pick up available“.

Normally at 3o’clock on a Saturday afternoon during the weekend after Thanksgiving – one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year under normal circumstances, and clearly a day seeing quite a bit of traffic at the state sanctioned “essential“ businesses across the street – there would be more than a few cars in the parking lot, with people grabbing dinner and or a cocktail or three after a day of dealing with the madding crowd.

Science.

Orders

Joe Doakes from Como Park emailed a week or so back:

Saint Paul, Minnesota
November 20, 2020
For Immediate Release

Dictator-for-Life Walz today announced a new Executive Order intended to save Minnesotans from the deadliest virus ever known, Covid-19.

“It is well documented that Black people are more susceptible than Whites,” he said. “It stands to reason the more people who have the virus, the more people they can spread it to. We must prevent the spread of the virus which could overwhelm medical facilities and leave thousands of people to die untreated. Therefore, effective immediately, all Black people are required to present themselves to local authorities for removal to permanent and isolated Relocation Authority camps where they will be confined for the duration of the emergency.”

In response to Republican claims that such an order would somehow violate the “Constitution,” a spokesman for Attorney General Ellison stated, “Since the Governor’s order is authorized by statute and has not been overturned by the Legislature, it is presumptively valid. There is ample legal precedent for this measure provided in the Supreme Court case of Korematsu v. United States. The notion that the Governor lacks the authority to suspend people’s so-called “Constitutional rights” during the time of state-wide emergency is absurd on its face.”

Local Black Lives Matter and NAACP officials called a press conference to protest the order but were summarily arrested and have not been heard from since. It is believed they are the first Blacks to be sent to the Relocation Camps, although that rumor cannot be confirmed.

In Saint Paul, Joe Doakes, reporting.

It only seems preposterous if you haven’t been following Governor Fredo and Mayor Squiggy in New York.

Or, y’know, history in general.

Leading From The Rear

Governor Walz was a National Guard noncommissioned officer.

As such, it’s not unreasonable to believe he knows one of the key principles of leadership – never ask those you’re leading to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.

I thought about that when I read this…

…the latest in an eight month series of such platitudes.

Is it plausible that someone presumably promoted by the Army for demonstrating some leadership skill actually believes that someone with a government income and benefits chanting platitudes like “we’re all in this together” to people who are losing, have lost or will lose everything is sound leadership?

Is he unaware?

Or given the Twin Cities’ obsequious media, does he just know it doesn’t matter?

Follow The Money

Downtown Minneapolis boosters are split over the news that Dollar General is putting a store on the ever-more-desolate Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

On the one hand, you’ve got the one that chortle at all the “People of Walmart”-style stories they associate with Dollar General – a chain usually associated with towns too small or neighborhoods too poor for a Walmart.

On the other hand you’ve got the “aren’t we better than this?” mob.

Rick Nelson at the Strib kinda straddles the line:

Yes, “tacky” and “depressing” are two words to describe the appearance of a dollar store on what is widely viewed as Minneapolis’ Main Street, a thoroughfare that recently underwent a $50 million makeover. “Distressing” could be another, since the appearance of this type of merchant might be an indication that downtown’s dwindling retail scene is taking yet another step in the wrong direction.

The store’s new home in the Andrus (the historic building formerly known as Renaissance Square) at S. 5th Street and Nicollet Mall won’t be sullied with a glaring yellow-and-black Dollar General logo. Instead, there will be a hip “DGX” marquee, reflecting Dollar General’s curated version of its discount store.

So what does it all mean, for a street that the city of Minneapolis just spent tens of millions of dollars refurbing (and BLM and “Anti”-Fa spent a couple of nights hacking away at)?

Why, it’s almost as if when you treat a major city like an urban studies lab, make driving onerous and parking prohibitive, and treat public safety as a sign of misbegotten privilege even if someone hasn’t burned down your favorite destination (or closed it forever via a hamfisted lockdown), the people from the outlying parts of the city that downtown used to depend on for all that juicy revenue will take their money elsewhere?

Epidemiology

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is the correct response to Covid: We’re going to treat it like any other respiratory virus.

It is simply not possible to stop a virus from spreading, or to prevent people from being exposed to it.  Instead, we must focus on protecting those most at-risk from the virus, and treating those sickened by it, as best we can. 

Everybody else – get back to work.

The existence of the virus is not a hoax; the panic response is a political hoax that deliberately sacrifices senior citizens’ lives to terrify voters into electing a man who promises to keep them safe.  It’s despicable.

Joe Doakes

Rahm Emanuel let slip the great Progressive commandment – “never waste a crisis”.

The pandemic was real. So was the Democrats’ adherence to Emanuel.

Conventional Wisdom

“Masking up reduces rates of infection!”

According to a Danish study? Not significantly:

The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.

“OK, but a complete lockdown-level quarantine will do the trick!”

According to a study of the most controllable experimental subjects of all – US Marine recruits at boot camp – not really:

The virus still spread, though 90% of those who tested positive were without symptoms [18 year olds in perfect, military-grade health? Go figure – Ed.]. Incredibly, 2% of the CHARM recruits still contracted the virus, even if all but one remained asymptomatic. “Our study showed that in a group of predominantly young male military recruits, approximately 2% became positive for SARS-CoV-2, as determined by qPCR assay, during a 2-week, strictly enforced quarantine.” 

Science is, of course, asking questions and testing theories as rigorously as you can. Two studies do not cause science to “settle”.

But the way the media is misreporting these studies, if they report them at all, is a little galling.

Where Have You Gone, David Dinkins?

New Yorkers are leaving NYC in record numbers.

I’ve added emphasis in a few places:

City residents filed 295,103 change of address requests from March 1 through Oct. 31, according to data The Post obtained from the US Postal Service under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Since the data details only when 11 or more forwarding requests were made to a particular county outside NYC, the number of moves is actually higher. And a single address change could represent an entire household, which means far more than 300,000 New Yorkers fled the five boroughs.

Whatever the exact number, the exodus — which began when COVID-19 hit the city in early spring — is much greater than in prior years. From just March through July, there were 244,895 change of address requests to destinations outside of the city, more than double the 101,342 during the same period in 2019.

As long as they don’t bring their infantile New York politics with ’em…

Pick Me!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The CDC has issued a new order allowing cruise ships to sail again. 

Without passengers.  They can take volunteers who will pretend to be passengers, so the cruise lines can try out their new antiseptic cleaning and social distancing measures to keep the ship safe from the deadliest virus ever known to mankind, which so far (rounded to the nearest whole number) has killed ZERO percent of Americans.

The volunteer cruise must simulate a real cruise, so there will be on-board entertainment venues, activities and meals. No prohibition on wrist bands to obtain unlimited alcoholic beverages while soaking in the hot tub . . . this sounds like my kind of gig.

Yes, yes, taking a risk, informed consent, waiver of rights . . . look, I could get killed crossing the street, alright?  I’m studied the Covid facts and numbers.  I’m willing to throw caution to the winds.  I’ll take my chances of dying of Covid on my free cruise. 

Where do I sign up?

Joe Doakes

I can’t imagine they’d have a lot of trouble finding volunteers in Minnesota…

Covid Theatre

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Testing reveals the Covid virus is spreading rapidly throughout the state; therefore, we must lock down again to prevent a Surge of Covid cases resulting in a huge number of hospitalizations which will overwhelm the medical system, leaving patients to die untreated in hallways and parking lots.  So claims the Walz Administration.

Someone should tell the Star Tribune.  As of last week, they reported:

” . . . 614 Minnesota hospital beds were filled with COVID-19 patients, including 149 who needed intensive care . . . Minnesota hospitals still have intensive care capacity, though, with 1,028 of 1,467 immediately available ICU beds filled with patients who have COVID-19 or other unrelated medical problems.”

We have 400 ICU beds immediately available for all comers, not just Covid patients.  The “immediately” is important, because in his second press conference announcing the extension of the two-week Stay Home Order, Governor Walz admitted we had the ability to ramp up to 3,000 ICU rooms within 72 hours. 

Unless something has changed that the Walz administration won’t talk about, we are using 149 of 3,000 ICU beds for Covid patients DESPITE the virus spreading rapidly throughout the state. There is no evidence of a Surge and even if there were, the medical system has plenty of excess capacity to serve it.

There is no medical reason for the lock down. End it now.

Joe Doakes

Pretty sure it’s all about showing the peasants who’s boss.

Intended Consequences

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember President Obama’s Cash for Clunkers program?  Trade in an old
car for a more fuel-efficient one, get up to $4,500 in federal rebate
money.  Your clunker was crushed.  The effect of the program was to
distort the used car market, driving up prices of starter vehicles for
the young and poor, making it harder for them to get to work.  The
distortion took months to settle out.

Remember the Obama administration pushing mortgages for minority
borrowers?  It was actually possible to get into a house with less
out-of-pocket investment than getting into an apartment; I saw lots of
examples in the land records.  The effect of that program was to distort
the lending market and when sub-prime mortgages crashed, it took a
decade for the foreclosures and bankruptcies to settle out.

Governor Walz issued his Stay Home order closing businesses and throwing
more than a million Minnesotans out of work (we know this because a
million people filed for unemployment, which is not available to youth,
part-time, casual, contract or small business owners; therefore, the
total who lost their incomes is much, much higher).  The mortgage
delinquency rate is the highest in 20 years but Congress put
foreclosures of federally insured mortgages are on hold and Governor
Walz imposed a moratorium on evictions. The effect is to distort the
housing market again.  There’s a flood of foreclosures and evictions
coming down the pike as soon as the pandemic restrictions are lifted. 
That flood will cause a slump in home values as lenders dump foreclosed
homes, which will drive home prices down, which will be reflected in
worse economic numbers for whomever is President at the time.  It may
take years to settle out, again.

None of this was unforeseen.  The foreseeable consequences of the lock
down were ignored in order to gin up support for mail in voting to make
the election easier to steal.  The cost of that decision is going up
every day.

Joe Doakes

This is what happens when there’s no real check on power.

Waves

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There is no Third Wave of Covid cases.  There was no Second Wave.  This is still the First Wave. 

When Covid was detected, the Governor issued a Stay Home order to “flatten the curve” so that we wouldn’t overwhelm our limited number of ICU rooms with Covid patients.  That would have meant leaving people to die in hallways and parking lots, untreated, for lack of ICU space. Instead, the plan was to slow the spread of the virus which would delay some Covid hospitalizations.  Rather than a massive surge, we’d see a continuous caseload that was within our ICU capacity.  And it worked . . . no hospital ICU were overwhelmed.

The Stay Home order was never intended to permanently halt Covid deaths.  We knew all along people were going to die, we just didn’t want them to die for lack of treatment in a Surge.  Instead, we wanted them to die more slowly, with treatment if possible.  That’s working, too.

Covid kills old sick people in nursing homes, which created nursing home bed vacancies. But nursing home beds don’t stay vacant – there’s always a waiting list.  New residents move in, they catch the virus from the existing patients or the staff, they die of Covid.  It’s not a wave issue, it’s a location issue.  Nursing homes are slaughterhouses. 

And it’s not going to end.  As the virus kills today’s old sick people, other sick people are aging.  Tomorrow’s old sick people are going to die of Covid, too.  And the day after that, and the month after that, and the year after that.  Because that’s what old sick people do in the nursing home: they die, of influenza, emphysema, cancer, diabetes and yes, of Covid.

Nothing President Trump could have done would have prevented the virus from acting according to its nature. It’s here to stay, just like other illnesses that kill old sick people.  Get used to it.

Joe Doakes

Lose that extra weight (if I did it, anyone can). Get your blood sugar and blood pressure under control (it ain’t easy, but your life may depend on it). Wear a mask and don’t be lingering around older people and people you know are vulnerable.

Start trying to rebuild the economy the Democrats have utterly f****d.

That’s the way forward.

We hope.

You Have Questions. They Have No Answers.

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Governor Walz, I have some questions.

In your press conference announcing the Stay Home order, you said the
Covid virus would kill 75,000 Minnesotans if we did nothing but only
50,000 if we implemented the strictest lock-down.  We needed to do that
to ‘flatten the curve’ so ICU rooms wouldn’t be overwhelmed.  Two weeks
later, you announced we had ramped up ICU rooms from 235 to 3,000 but we
still needed ventilators, which were on back-order.

Since then, we’ve been in continuous lock-down and now have the mask
mandate but ICU rooms are not overwhelmed with Covid cases; indeed,
hospitals are closing their doors for lack of patients.

Your administration gives daily briefings on the spread of Covid cases
and daily reported deaths as if these were bad things.  But weren’t they
part of the plan all along?  We locked down to Slow the spread, not to
Eliminate the spread.  We knew people would die, we just wanted them to
die more slowly.  Your plan is working perfectly.  Why aren’t you happy?

Which brings up the next point: when do you anticipate the lock-down
will end?  Right now, closings and quarantines seem to be based on case
rates, not ICU rates.  I understand that in theory, more cases could
lead to more ICU admissions which could overwhelm the system; but so
far, the statistics show that’s not happening.  We have plenty of excess
ICU bed capacity.

If all goes according to plan, eventually, everybody in the state will
have Covid but most of them will neither display symptoms nor require
hospitalization.  Is that what you’re waiting for?  If so, shouldn’t we
speed up the process by lifting all restrictions now?

Joe Doakes

It’s neither about science nor logic.

But Joe knows this.